Friday, March 30, 2007

Back to Nature - 3 Herbs Help Alleviate Back Pain

After years of fiddling with allopathic medicine to ease back pain, scientists have now found that nature comes to help - again.

Researchers including Joel Gagnier, ND, of Canada's Provincial Medical Centre in Windsor, Ontario reviewed 10 studies with a total of 1,567 adults suffering from acute, sub acute or chronic lumber pain. Gagnier and colleagues confirmed the studies' methods and results, and put out their findings in The Cochrane Library.

What They Found

Devil's claw

The analysis showed that daily oral administration of 50 or 100 milligrams of devil's claw appeared to reduce back pain more than placebos, which are nothing but sugar pills given to a group in place of the real medication to figure out if the effect observed is due to the power of suggestion or the actual effect of the medicine.

White willow bark

Daily oral doses of 120 or 240 milligrams of white willow bark's active ingredient, salicin also appeared to have a positive effect on back pain.


Tested as a plaster applied to the skin, it, too, had a seemingly encouraging effect on back pain. These plasters equaled – but did not surpass – results for a homeopathic gel.

Study Quality

Gagnier and colleagues call the evidence for devil's claw "strong" as compared to "moderate" for white willow bark and cayenne plasters.

The review, however, expresses concern about the quality of some studies. The team also found possible disagreement of interest in six of the studies which may have biased those studies' results.

All studies were short, enduring up to six weeks, so long-term results are unavailable. Gagnier and his team suggest that additional high-quality studies are required, while noting that herbal medicines may vary in preparation and content.

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